Other attorneys can be powerful referral sources for attorneys


Small law firms

A few months ago, I spoke with a friend who is a lawyer for a small company about our practices and how we can grow our business. Like many other small firm lawyers, my friend and I rely on stable referral sources in order to generate a steady stream of business. In our conversation, my friend claimed that lawyers rarely refer work to him and that he doesn’t think lawyers can create good referral sources for other lawyers. This friend claimed that most lawyers take good business to themselves, and all the things other lawyers refer to have bad clients who don’t make as much profit as other businesses. However, by cultivating the right network, attorneys can rely on other attorneys to get a steady stream of referrals.

Lawyers from outside the country

One of the best ways to get referrals from other attorneys is to make connections with attorneys from all over the country. The practice of law is very intertwined between jurisdictions, and a lawyer in a different part of the country may have a client who needs a lawyer in another part of the country to effectively handle a matter. Since lawyers are usually only permitted to practice in one or a few jurisdictions, they may refer such matters to a lawyer in the area where the client needs assistance, or at least engage an attorney in that jurisdiction for advice on a matter. certain legal.

I am fortunate to practice law in the New York City area, which is a popular jurisdiction for all kinds of litigation and transactional matters. People also often designate New York City in their forum selection terms, so parties from all over the country, and all over the world, may need to sue in that venue for different types of disputes. I have contacts in several different jurisdictions, and when a client of one of these attorneys needs to file a claim in New York or needs to understand an issue under New York law, they usually reach out to me for help. If attorneys stay in touch with their law school friends who practice in different jurisdictions, or cultivate such contacts at conferences, they can prepare themselves for referrals if a specific geographic referral is needed.

retired lawyers

In the end, even many of the most prolific lawyers need to end their practices and retire. In my career, many of the lawyers who used to hire me have retired in their late 60s or early 70s and needed to know what to do with their files and clients so they could have a smooth transition into retirement. For attorneys who work for larger law firms, it is usually easier for them to turn in files and retire, since other attorneys in the firm can apply and continue working on the retired attorney’s affairs. However, attorneys retiring from a sole proprietorship or a small firm may need to refer their clients to other firms since there is no clear succession plan.

Over the course of my career, I have received a number of great referrals from retired attorneys. Some of these attorneys referred matters to me on their way to retirement, and other attorneys referred clients to me who had contacted the retired attorney. Since people may naturally approach retired attorneys for years after they retire because clients trust these individuals, these retired attorneys can be a powerful source of regular referrals for practicing attorneys.

In-house or government attorneys

A variety of lawyers cannot take up the business due to the nature of their jobs. For example, government lawyers may be approached for legal advice, but are unable to assist potential clients because they do not have a legal practice. An in-house consultant may also be approached on assisting potential clients, but may not have the knowledge or ability to assist prospects due to their work arrangements. In such cases, it is not uncommon for these attorneys to refer potential clients to practicing attorneys they know. Since these lawyers are unable to handle the matter themselves, there is no need to fear that the matter will be referred to them as it is not worth another lawyer’s time. I have handled many matters on behalf of solicitors who are not private practice and this can be a strong source of referral for practicing solicitors.

In short, certain types of attorneys can be powerful sources of large, repeat referrals. As a result, attorneys looking to expand their practice should try to stay in touch with other attorneys as well as business contacts in order to best build their referral networks.

Jordan Rothman Partner Rothman Law FirmA full-service law firm in New York and New Jersey. He is also a founder Student Debt Diary, a website discussing how to pay off his student loans. You can reach Jordan via e-mail at


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